On Branches

Stripped trees glisten

Droplets swell then fall from twigs

Chirrups of blue tits


n.b. Despite the buffeting gale that has persisted throughout the night and intensified with day-break, the blue tits https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/blue-tit/carry on their busy lives regardless.

Without cover, due to the autumn leaf fall, these stop-start little birds whizz from tree to hedge and back again in short, nippy flights. The filthy weather, whose deep roar fills the space behind this gloomy sky, is cut by short, bright ribbons of the blue tits’ cheerful cheeping. Not a tuneful call, but bright and optimistic. Autumn allows us to be able to hear and see this small, quirky bird at its best.


CLP 26/10/2019

October (IV)

Washed out by last night

Weather interrupted sleep

Time for a shower


n.b. “Rain will clear over the next couple of days.” the weather forecaster said. It clears every hour or so here. Moments of beauty swept away by an incoming shower, before the next glistening picture of autumn is revealed, still wet on the canvas.


CLP 18/10/2019

October (III)

These last are not low hanging

But harvest them we must

Ripened on the upper boughs

The topmost, sun-blushed fruit

Balanced between earth and sky

We climb and stretch

To where they sit

Well nigh, just out of reach

If there’s a slip, they ricochet from branch to trunk to orchard floor

Gashed and bruised in descent

These will be the first we eat

The rest, the best, the sweetest

We carry carefully to the winter store


CLP 16/10/2019

October (I)

Irregular beats

Speckle tight canvas cover

Rain’s rhythm persists


n.b. Now there is plenty of rain. October in Somerset has been remarkably wet. The damp air has slowed the arrival of autumn colours, although grass is turning yellow where the roots have become saturated.

This afternoon I saw a washed out, pale pink earth worm writhing on the sodden lawn, after it had struggled to the surface in the middle of another intense period of the seemingly unceasing rain. The local blackbirds are happy for such gifts.

The water table will benefit and the streams will refill. However, in the local village, many house owners have replaced grass with hard-surfacing for car parking. This ground work increases surface run-off that puts pressure on the drainage system, designed before car ownership had reached current levels. Combined with erratic rain patterns that produce intense, or prolonged periods of precipitation, risks of flash flooding and water damage increase as a result of further moulding the land for the convenience of motorised transport.

Three years ago The Guardian published the following article, but the message does not seem to have got through.

Why concrete + rain = flash floods

Increasing pressure on local government finances, due to national government’s “Austerity” measures, has led to more street parking restrictions in residential areas. Residents then replace front gardens with personal car parking; this restricts street parking capacity because these car drivers need to access these spaces directly across the pavements, which encourages more property owners to convert gardens to car spaces. Then when it rains, flood risk rises as there is less natural soak-away for rainwater to filter through.

In the three years since this article there is little evidence of any reduction in the process of concreting over gardens, nor any inkling of acneed to reverse this process.

CLP 11/0/2019